Society Updates

August 25, 2017
Hello to all SSPS members!

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is confirmed for Tuesday, October 24th at 7:00pm at the Penticton Lakeside Resort (registration starts as 6:00pm). There will be several significant resolutions presented to be voted on, along with the election of directors. More details will be forthcoming in the near future and a complete information package will be e-mailed to everyone October 3. We are anticipating a large turnout and hope to see you there.

In other news, the SSPS Advisory Committee continues to attend all Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) meetings. In particular we are pleased that Carolae Donoghue and Gerry Karr’s work on the Vision and Values sub-committee has, along with input from other committee members, been accepted initially in the form of a vastly improved vision and values statement for the PRMP.

Over the summer, the SSPS AC has also been working closely with our lawyer to seek a long term effective solution that would prevent future commercial development in our parks and avoid any other fiascos similar to Skaha Park from ever happening again. This is in early planning stages and we will be presenting more details on this very important matter at the AGM.

In the meantime we hope you enjoy the remaining summer, and as always, we thank you for your support. We will be in touch again soon.

 

SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Gerry Karr, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Lenora Robson

 


 

Hello to all SSPS members,

It’s a hot and busy summer and it has been some time since our last update. Members of the SSPS Advisory Committee are continuing to attend the Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) meetings and two of the SSPS Advisory Committee have been selected to participate in a sub-committee of the PRMP.

SSPS Advisory Committee member Gary Denton, who also sits on the PRMP Steering Committee, scored a major win when he successfully introduced a motion to recommend that the Park Dedication Bylaw of 2002 be amended to remove the following clause:

That for the purposes of this Bylaw “public park land” shall mean an area of land set aside to be used by the public as a place of rest, recreation, exhibitions, agriculture,exercise, pleasure, amusement, enjoyment and any other activity or use related or ancillary thereto and without limiting the foregoing, Council may from time to time lease or license all or part of the public park land for uses related to or ancillary to the uses specified herein.
…and to replace it with the following:

“That for the purposes of this Bylaw “public park land” shall mean “an unencumbered tract of land wherein the land title is held by a public entity for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the people and for the protection, conservation, and preservation of the natural, physical, historical, and cultural resources thereon, and wherein an encumbrance is a burden, obstruction, or impediment to the foundational purpose or purposes for which the park was established.”

 

The PRMP Steering Committee voted unanimously to pass the motion and it will be a recommendation in the final PRMP.

What this means is if City Council accepts this recommendation when it is presented (and there is no guarantee they will) and amends the bylaw to remove the leasing and licensing statement, they will not be able to use the Park Dedication bylaw as authority to lease park land for commercial use.

Another positive step forward is that two of the SSPS Advisory Committee members (Gerry Karr and Carolae Donoghue) have been selected to join the PRMP Vision and Values  sub-committee. This very important step comes as a result of consistent pressure from the SSPS Advisory Committee to redevelop the current draft Vision and Values statement to one that more accurately reflects what we Penticton residents envision our parks to be and crucially, how we will ensure we achieve the vision. A well thought out Vision and Values statement is vital  to the success of any project and we are pleased that SSPS has an opportunity to help create it.

We will keep you updated as events unfold.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Gerry Karr, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Lenora Robson

 


 

Hello to all our members!

A special meeting of City Council will be held at 6:00pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre to receive community input regarding the newly announced Skaha Lake Marina and Water Park Development.

Unfortunately, the danger to greenspace in Skaha Park has NOT been eliminated.

If you believe that Skaha Park must remain a peaceful and contemplative, freely accessible greenspace with no commercial development, it is imperative that you attend this important meeting and express your opinion.

There has been much discussion, and some confusion, over the City’s Settlement Agreement announced at the City Council meeting November 1. The  new agreement consists of 3 parts; the Enhanced Marina Agreement, the Marina Amenity Agreement and the Park Amenity Agreement.

Following is a brief synopsis of the 3 agreements, and an explanation of our response  to them:

A. Enhanced Marina agreement - 
1. Trio agrees to increase the number of boat slips to 100.

2. Trio to construct a retail space consisting of 225 to 4000 sq. ft. (operating seasonally May 1 to Sept.30)

3. Trio to construct a restaurant of 1360 to 2500 sq. ft. accommodating 85 to 156 customers (operating seasonally May 1 to Sept.30)

4. Trio to take over the operation of the south parking lot south east of the marina building and the existing boat trailer parking lot
B. Marina Amenity agreement -
1. Trio agrees to develop a plan for a seasonal aquatic play structure to be located on the foreshore (not in the water) of Skaha Lake in the area opposite the boathouse and concession. This will be subject to public consultation.  No further details are known at this time.

C. Park Amenity agreement –

1.  Beginning January, 2018, Trio will take over the seasonal concession within this space and will be permitted to operate a ticket sale kiosk for the Marina and the planned Park Amenity.
2.  In 2019 the City will begin to conduct public consultation, as they deem appropriate, to revitalize Skaha Park.

3.  The area to be revitalized is the same greenspace (minus the splashpad) where the waterslide was  planned to be built. That is to say, virtually all of the greenspace that was part of the original waterpark agreement could be impacted.
4.  At the City’s discretion they will identify a new and as yet unidentified park concept within the aforementioned greenspace, that “best balances their plans for a revitalized park and public input, exclusively to Trio to construct any revenue generating facility.”

 

Q. What part(s) of the Settlement Agreement does SSPS support?

A. SSPSneither contests nor approves the Marina Enhancement or Marina Amenity proposal as long as there is rigorous and authentic public consultation and input. Marina development that stays within the current footprint and does not take up additional greenspace is not part of SSPS’s mandate.

Q. What part of the Settlement Agreement does SSPS oppose? Why?
A. SSPS opposes the Park Amenity section of the Settlement Agreement.

It is our opinion that the City and Trio have merely replaced “waterslide” with “park amenity.”  Details of what “park amenity” means are completely unknown at this time and will remain so until 2019.

Furthermore, the City is waiving its own purchasing policy as it relates to the Concession, the Marine Proposal and the Park Amenity, meaning they do not have to tender for bids for any of these projects.

Of greater concern is that the City is exempting itself from having to follow any restrictions or guidelines for commercial development in parks that may come from the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, ironically a process that was initiated by the City becuase of the opposition to the waterslide in Skaha Park. In essence this gives the City and Trio carte blanche (after public input) to build whatever they deem appropriate in the greenspace SSPS is fighting so hard to preserve.  Based on their record to date, we have no confidence that the City will heed public opinion, no matter how clearly expressed it may be.

We must remember the Expression of Interest to develop Skaha Park that was issued by the City in 2013.  It requested responses to “create some vibrancy at … these significant waterfront locations. The types of developments that could meet this vision include: hotel, restaurant, retail, marina, sports, entertainment or recreation.”

The City has ignored public input in the past with respect to the TRIO development proposals and SSPS has no reason to believe anything will change with the Park Amenity process.

For these reasons it is critical to voice your concerns about the new Park Amenity proposal and plan to attend this very important meeting at 6:00pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

It’s not over!

SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Gerry Karr, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

 


 

 

Hello to all SSPS members!

We are pleased to report that recently a group of UBC Faculty of Management Masters students, as part of a pilot project, requested a meeting with members of our Advisory Committee to learn about the history of Skaha Park and in particular Save Skaha Park Society.

Five members of the Advisory Committee met with the 15 students for an hour in the park and provided them with a brief history of the park and its special importance to Penticton residents. We took them on a walking tour of the perimeter of the space that would be leased for the proposed waterpark and provided them with a history of our Society.

The students, many of whom were familiar with the waterslide issue, were particularly interested in the environmental impact the waterslide would have on the riparian area, and of course, the loss of so many trees.

It was a great opportunity to share our values with them. They asked many excellent questions and offered some great suggestions. All of them were very grateful for the time we spent with them. We were pleased to meet with them, particularly since they were from Kelowna and would undoubtedly spread the word, especially since we sent them on their way with memberships forms!

In other news, our membership is now at just over 5,000 members, thanks to the efforts of our volunteers who worked so tirelessly at the Farmers’ Market and other venues in the city. A sincere thanks to every one of you!  It is just  matter of time until we surpass 5,126 members – the same number of votes that the Mayor received in the 2014 election!

These days the Advisory Committee is busy preparing for our Society’s first Annual General Meeting (AGM) coming up Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00pm (registration starts at 6:30) at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

Within the next couple of weeks we will issue an AGM informational package. We are hoping for an excellent turnout at the meeting and look forward to seeing you there.

In Legal news, our lawyer is making progress on the Discovery of Documents stage as we move ahead with our Civil Claim. We will update you as information becomes available.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.It’s not over!
The Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

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Hello to all SSPS members and volunteers!

We had a very successful weekend membership drive at the Dragon Boat Races at Skaha Park, so a very special “thank you” to all the volunteers who came out to help on such chilly, windy days.

As a result of your work, we are now sitting at over 4,800 members (exact count is in progress) and we are getting tantalizingly close to the magic number of 5,126.Why is that number special?That’s how many votes the Mayor received in the last election, and we would dearly love to have more SSPS members that he received votes. If you think you can sell just one more membership, now is the time to do it!

We have reproduced a copy of the membership form at the bottom of this message so feel free to print it and try to sign up one more member to help us reach that goal.  If it does not print properly based on your e-mail system, reply to this email and we will attach the form itself to your request.

In other news, we have just finished analyzing, compiling, creating and couriering a 50 page document, plus significant supporting information, to the Society lawyer in Kamloops based on the research done at the Penticton museum . This research represents the many, many hours that our volunteers and the Advisory Committee spent researching archived information relative to our case. This important research will be part of the Discovery of Documents phase to strengthen our Civil Claim against the City of Penticton and Trio.

As always, thank you for your continued support. We will be in touch again soon.

It’s not over!

The SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

SSPS Communication, September 14, 2016

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Hello to SSPS members,

We have today received the City’s response to the Civil Claim we filed against the City of Penticton September, 2015.
It is unfortunate that the City issued a press release to all media outlets this morning which meant that several on-line news services were reporting on the contents of the response before we had even received it.As we expected, the City’s response denies the challenges raised in our Civil Suit, claiming that the City was not required to have the approval of the electors in the leasing of public parkland, and that the City acted at all times within its powers and authority. Of course, we disagree.
The response is now with our lawyer, with whom we will continue to work closely as we prepare for the next stage in the legal process.
While SSPS is not part of any negotiations between the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group to resolve the Skaha Park waterslide fiasco, we remain hopeful that the two parties will come to a resolution without our going to court.
We will be in touch as events unfold.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
It’s not over!
SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Jake Kimberley, Carolae Donoghue, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson
SSPS Communication, August 31, 2016

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Hello to all SSPS members!

We hope you have had a chance to read the “Save Skaha Park Society Letter to Penticton Residents” published in the August 26 Penticton Herald (page 3) and Penticton Western (page 9). We have inlcuded it below in case you missed it. 

Our purpose in placing it in the paper was to explain the difference between SSPS’s Civil Claim filed against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine group last September, and the Claim recently filed by another citizen. We hope this clears up any confusion about why the two civil claims must remain separate. 

There are busy days ahead as we anticipate the City’s response to our Civil Claim by month’s end. We are also ramping up our membership drive and are once again asking for your help at SSPS membership booths at various events throughout the city. We appreciate all the great work done by our wonderful volunteers. 

We will be in touch again after we have received the City’s response.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

It’s not over!
SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

 

SSPS/Communication Aug 27, 2016

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                                              Save Skaha Park Society
Letter to Penticton Residents

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) Advisory Committee (AC) would like to clarify the difference between its Civil Claim filed against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group September 25, 2015 and the lawsuit filed recently by an independent citizen and clarify why we have not joined efforts.
SSPS’s mandate was and remains:

  • To advocate for the preservation of Penticton’s Skaha Park as an open natural park freely accessible to all, and
  • To oppose, including the right to seek remedy in court, commercial development within the park that is in our opinion not consistent with or ancillary to this role, without the approval of the electors.

The Civil Claim filed on behalf of SSPS reflects this mandate and argues that the City has exceeded its authority in leasing a section of parkland in Skaha Park for the purpose of building a commercial waterslide.

 

The other lawsuit has taken arguments from the SSP Claim verbatim. But in addition it raises numerous issues that we have been advised add no substantive legal argument that would assist our challenge.

 

One of the many issues raised in the other lawsuit is a demand that the City hold a referendum on the leasing of parkland.

 

Regrettably, it is too late for a referendum. The role of a referendum is to seek public approval of policy before it is enacted, not after. We now have a signed, legally binding contract in place between the City of Penticton and Trio. Only a successful legal challenge can overturn that agreement. Calls for a referendum are therefore misguided at this time and only serve to muddy the waters.

 

On August 4, our lawyer requested a response to our lawsuit from the City. We have been assured it will be received by the end of August. The next step will be examination for discovery. Should we end up going to court after that we would expect a court date sometime in late 2017. In the meantime, Trio will be unable to take any action to implement the Waterpark Agreement. We will remain open to negotiations taking place between the City and Trio that would bring a positive end to this fiasco without further cost to taxpayers.

 

SSPS remains true to its mandate to save Skaha Lake Park from Commercial development and is following our lawyer’s advice to achieve this goal. We won’t be distracted by other claims that only confuse an already complex issue.

 

SSPS is moving ahead with its lawsuit, increasing membership in the society and continuing to apply pressure on the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group to abandon their ill-conceived idea. We will continue to responsibly represent over 4,560 SSPS members who have placed their trust in us.

 

SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin,
Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

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Hello to all SSPS members!

We would like to update everyone with information about the media press conference the SSPS Advisory Committee held this afternoon at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

The purpose of the press conference was to mark the one year anniversary of the rallies protesting the proposed commercial development in Skaha Park held last summer, and to release new information to the media.

We were pleased that the following media outlets were in attendance:

    Penticton Herald

    Penticton Western News

    Locals Supporting Locals

    Castanet

    Global Okanagan

Be sure to tune in this evening at 6:30 or 11:00 (channel 4 or 211) to see the coverage.

Also please see below a copy of the statement that we presented to the media at the press conference.

And just to clear up any remaining confusion, the meeting scheduled tonight in Skaha Park is not organized by SSPS.

As always, thanks for your continued support!

It’s not over!

 

SSPS Advisory Committee  -  Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

 

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Save Skaha Park Society Press Conference August 19, 2016

Statement of purpose

We cannot let this council destroy what has taken many past councils over 100 years as a city to create.

We have passed the one year anniversary of two of the biggest rallies in this city’s history that were held in front of City Hall to protest the agreement to lease 20% of Skaha Park to Trio Marine Group for a commercial waterslide.  It’s worth remembering that the Mayor signed the lease the very day that 700 residents were demonstrating against it, virtually within earshot of his office.

What was the Mayor’s response to the hundreds who rallied?

        “…opinions…are based on misinformation…some fight change every step of the way…the current model of public engagement needs enhancement.” (Penticton Herald, Aug.17/15)

Soon after came the “Mark Skaha Park” event in September when 1,000 people demonstrated in the park standing shoulder to shoulder and forming a human chain around the entire area that would be lost to the waterslide. Petitions have been circulated that oppose the waterslide (with 8400 signatures), SSPS membership has reached 4650 members and soon it will be one year since SSPS launched its Civil Claim on September 25, 2015.

It has been a long and frustrating year during which SSPS held off on pursuing its law suit as the COP and Trio tried to negotiate a resolution. The hope was that they would find a resolution that would meet our mandate without having to go to court and thereby save SSPS supporters and taxpayers potentially over $100,000 in legal fees for SSPS and the City.

SSPS needs to clarify a statement made by the Mayor in the July 29/16 Penticton Herald, “With recent gatherings of all parties at one table we are optimistic that a resolution with Save Skaha Park Society can be found outside of the courtroom. We feel this would be the best outcome for all involved.” This inference that SSPS was in negotiations with Trio is categorically false. We have requested the Mayor to retract his statement in writing, but we have not received any response.

By invitation, SSPS did meet with Tom Hedquist of Trio on June 17 when we were told that Trio was considering an alternate development that would be contained entirely within the existing marina footprint. On this premise, SSPS accepted the invitation to view the new plan. At that meeting Mr. Hedquist presented a rough plan that did not involve any intrusion into Skaha Park and kept to the already-developed area of the existing marina.  Furthermore at that same meeting Mr. Hedquist stated, “the water slides are not going to be built.”

There were no negotiations. SSPS does not know the Mayor’s motivation nor reasons why he would state that we have been negotiating with Trio but we do know that his statement as reported in the Herald is false. SSPS’s position was that the rough plan met our mandate, but we made it very clear with Mr. Hedquist that any approval for the hybrid plan must come from Penticton residents through public consultation.

In mid July SSPS placed a paid advertisement in both local papers updating members and supporters of its actions for the past several months, and stating that while they had been patient with the City and Trio to negotiate a resolution to the waterslide debacle, they would not wait forever.

What was the Mayor’s response?

          “We just have to be patient…we are hoping there is a bit more direction soon, hopefully before summer is over.”(Penticton Western News, July 15/16)

A bit more direction, from whom? Shouldn’t the Mayor be giving direction?

As soon as it became evident some weeks later that a negotiated resolution was not forthcoming, SSPS instructed its lawyer to reactivate the Civil Claim and send a letter to the COP’s legal counsel requesting a response to the Civil Claim without further delay. At the same time a second lawsuit against the City was launched by a private citizen.

What was the Mayor’s response?

        “We are still very optimistic that we can get to some sort of resolution without going to court…to get all players to the starting line…” (Penticton Western News, July 29/16).  Well … it’s August 19 and we don’t see any starting line.

SSPS politely, and respectfully, requests the Mayor to do the right thing, and that is … to put his money where his mouth is – or as SSPS says … put taxpayers’ money where his mouth is and bring an end to this.

On August 04, we requested a response to our Civil Claim by the end of August, and that time is fast approaching. If there is no public declaration that the waterslide project is terminated, SSPS will vigorously proceed with its campaign to increase its membership, and to raise funds through public rallies and to hold various events throughout the city. Is this the kind of publicity the Mayor wishes to see continued?

Mayor Jakubeit, please get the waterslides off the table, and then perhaps our divided community, which you caused by not holding a referendum in 2015, thereby negating democracy, will heal.

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Hello to all SSPS members and supporters!

First of all, a big thank you to all the members who responded to our “Make Waves” letter writing campaign and took the time to send a letter to the editor and /or to write to a member of City Council to voice their concerns about the ongoing waterslide issue in Skaha Park.  Over half of the letters to the editor in last week’s Penticton Herald were from SSPS members! What a great effort and an excellent way to keep the pressure on the City of Penticton.  Well done.

Based on some enquires that we have received, we would like to clear up any confusion that has arisen as to whether SSPS is involved with the group of people who are meeting later this week in Skaha Park. We wish to clarify that SSPS had no prior knowledge of the meeting and that the group is acting independently of our society. Their range of concerns appears to be many and varied in scope while SSPS prefers to remain focussed on our mandate, which is:

  • to preserve Skaha Park for unrestricted public use in its entirety other than lands currently leased as a marina, and,
  • to prevent or overturn the long term leasing of a portion of Skaha Park for a commercial waterslide by any legal means available.

As always, thank you for your continued support. We will be in touch again soon.

It’s not over!

 

SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

SSPS/Communication Aug 15, 2016

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Hello to all SSPS members and supporters!

It’s the “dog days” of summer and time to make some waves!

We need to continue to put pressure on the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group to come to a resolution about the waterslide issue in Skaha Park. One of the best ways to keep up the pressure is to write to them directly or better still, send a letter to the local media.

We know many of you have already sent in some excellent letters to both the Penticton Herald and The Penticton Western News. Way to go!!

Despite one Councillor who says he doesn’t read the papers because they are too negative (!) it’s reasonable to assume that some of them do.  Let’s make some waves and let them know that Save Skaha Park Society is still here, that we are 4,600 members strong and we’re not going away.

So, if you have never written a letter to the editor or a city official, now is the time to do it! And if you are a regular contributor, please keep up the great work.

Your feedback can be brief – a sentence or two, expressing your feelings about the unwanted commercial waterslide in our beautiful Skaha Park. Let’s hit home the message that the City must resolve this contentious issue now to avoid a lengthy court case that will result in heavy costs to all Penticton taxpayers.  We need your help to get this message across.

Here are the e-mail contacts for the Penticton Herald, the Penticton Western News and City Council:

editor@pentictonherald.ca
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com
andrew.jakubeit@penticton.ca
campbell.watt@penticton.ca
helena.konanz@penticton.ca
andre.martin@penticton.ca
max.picton@penticton.ca
judy.sentes@penticton.ca
tarik.sayeed@penticton.ca

Please take a few minutes and let the media, the Mayor and the Councillors know how you feel about this very important issue.

We will be in touch again soon.

It’s not over!

The Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin,  Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

SSPS/Communication Aug 7, 2016

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Hello to all Save Skaha Park Society members,

As you know, for the past several months we have put our legal proceedings against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group on hold to allow time for both parties to negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution to the waterslide issue that meets our mandate without the cost to taxpayers of going to court.

Throughout this time the Advisory Committee focused on increasing memberships in the society by organizing various events throughout the city and seeking contributions to the legal fund in case the negotiations were not fruitful and we ended up going to court.

SSPS took no active role in the negotiations between the COP and Trio but had been encouraged that the discussions were progressing well and had every reason to expect a positive outcome. However, recently it became clear that the COP and Trio have been unable to reach a solution and therefore, the very real possibility exists that this divisive issue could continue in our community for many more months.

As a result, it was ratified at the Advisory Committee’s regular weekly meeting last Thursday that the time has come where we have no alternative but to proceed to the next level of the Civil Claim process against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group.  

Thursday afternoon we issued a press release to the print media in Penticton announcing our new direction.

The Advisory Committee is disappointed to have to resort to this.  From inception the committee has been mindful of the costs to the taxpayers that will result if this matter goes to court and for that reason we remained hopeful that it could be avoided by a negotiated resolution. 

As always, we thank you for your continued support. We will update you as events unfold.

It’s not over!

 

The Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin,                     Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

SSPS/Communication July 31, 2016

 

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Open Letter to Penticton Residents from Save Skaha Park Society 

 The Advisory Committee of Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) believes it is time to provide our many members, supporters and financial contributors with an in-depth view of the course of action the Society has taken over the past seven months.

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) filed a Notice of Civil Claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. against the City of Penticton (COP) and Trio Marine Group on September 25, 2015. Subsequently, on advice from our legal counsel, SSPS conducted a comprehensive historical search of all matters relating to the origins, assembly of lands, historical use and character of Skaha Lake Park. These records will be required as an integral part of our legal claim opposing the authority of the COP to allow the construction of commercial water slides in the park. This research was substantially complete in December, thanks to innumerable hours spent in the museum archives by SSPS volunteers and members of the Advisory Committee. When that research had been completed, SSPS was ready for the next stage of the legal process, the Discovery of Documents phase. However, at that point in December, three months after the filing of the Civil Claim, no response had been received from the COP.

Since the inception of SSPS in August 2015, over $62,000 has been received to fund its legal challenge of the water slide agreement. These contributions came from Penticton and area residents, ranging from under $100 to between $500 and $1,000. By December, SSPS had expended over $17,000 in legal fees. The Advisory Committee was cognizant that the next phase of the legal action would cost SSPS $70,000 – $80,000, to be raised from Penticton taxpayers. With this figure in mind, SSPS explored the possibility of a negotiated, diplomatic resolution to end the dispute which would avoid going to court – a possible win-win for all parties.

In January, the Advisory Committee deemed there was sufficient justification to put our legal action on hold pending the outcome of on-going discussions between the COP and Trio Marine Group. No further legal fees would be incurred by either the COP or SSPS as long as there was optimism that a mutually satisfactory resolution could be reached through negotiation. SSPS’s legal counsel was unconditionally supportive of this course of action. Complete confidentiality regarding these legal matters has been, and continues to be, a requirement.

During this same time period, SSPS undertook a membership drive, again on the recommendation of its legal counsel, who advised that if and when our case goes to court, the Society will need to demonstrate that it represents a substantial number of taxpayers. SSPS now has 4300 members and is increasing by an average of 120 a week.

The SSPS Advisory Committee has heard the frustration of many of our supporters regarding the time this divisive debate has been allowed to continue in our community. We understand your concerns that little has been said, and that nothing much appears to be happening, and we share those frustrations and concerns.

The mandate of SSPS has been clear from the onset –  

  • to advocate for the preservation of Penticton’s Skaha Park as an open natural park freely accessible to all and
  •  to oppose, including the right to seek remedy in court, commercial development within the park that is in our opinion not consistent with or ancillary to this role, without the approval of the electorate.

We remain optimistic that a resolution, consistent with the Society’s mandate is achievable without having to go to court.

If however, a satisfactory resolution between the COP and Trio Marine Group has not been achieved within an acceptable time frame, the Advisory Committee will have no recourse but to instruct our legal counsel to proceed with our Civil Claim.

SSPS’s legal options have in no way been compromised by our decision to wait for a negotiated end to the water slide agreement. In fact, time is on our side. We have been patient but we will not wait forever. We have a healthy balance in our bank account and pledges of significant additional funds if and when they are required.

We will keep you informed of new developments as appropriate.

It’s not over!

 

Save Skaha Park Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin,

Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

SSPS/Communication July 9, 2016

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Hello to all Save Skaha Park Society members!

Last week’s presentations by Dr. Gerry Karr and Carolae Donoghue to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee were well received by everyone in attendance. In addition to the PRMP committee members, the presenters extended an invitation to City Council to come for the first part of the meeting to hear the presentations and were pleased when Councillors Sayeed and Konanz attended. Also in attendance were Mayor Jakubeit and Councillor Sentes, both of whom are on the committee.

Dr. Gerry Karr spoke on the value of urban parks to the health and wellness of the community and Carolae Donoghue spoke on the importance of defining commercial use in parks and clarifying what level of commercial activity is acceptable and where. Following the presentations there was a question period during which both presenters were asked questions by committee members. SSPS’s views were well represented!

The membership drive continues successfully with 291 new members signed up over the past 2 weeks, thanks to our dedicated volunteers. Beginning July 4 we will be focussing on membership pick up and drop off points in lieu of membership tables for a couple of weeks. The locations where completed memberships can be dropped off and new ones picked up are:

         ·         Penticton Lakeside Resort,

         ·         Dragon’s Den (Penticton) and

         ·         143 Yorkton Avenue

Of course completed memberships can also be mailed to 113-437 Martin Street, Box 331, Penticton, V2A 5L1.

With tourist season upon us, please ensure that you ask family and friends visiting our fair city to complete the on-line tourist survey sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee. This is the opportunity for everyone who vacations in Penticton to have a voice in the future planning for our parks. To complete the survey, go to the “Shape your city Penticton” website:

                             http://www.shapeyourcitypenticton.ca/

and click on “Visiting Penticton, Find Survey Here.”

As always, thank you for your continued support. We will be in touch again soon.

It’s not over!

 

The SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Lenora Robson, Benoit Robert, Louella Sloboda, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin

SSPS/Communication June 30, 2016

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Hello to all Save Skaha Park Society members!

Our membership drive continues to be successful with more than 2,500 new memberships having been purchased in the past two months. Memberships in SSPS have now reached 4,100 and are increasing by an average of 200 per week. Thanks again to our amazing volunteers who continue to contribute their valuable time in so many ways. You are the reason for our success.

We are pleased to advise that SSPS has been invited to make a presentation on June 22, 2016 to the Parks & Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee, City of Penticton, in support of the benefits of having healthy parks, and the importance of finding a way, either through policy or guidelines, which will prevent this contentious issue from happening again in the future.

SSPS remains committed to our goals of preventing a commercial waterpark from being built in Skaha Park, ensuring unrestricted public use of the park other than lands currently leased as a marina, and overturning the long term leasing of a portion of Skaha Park for a commercial waterslide.

The SSPS Advisory Committee is continuing to work hard to achieve these important objectives and will keep you updated as events unfold.

We thank you for your continued support.

It’s not over!

 

SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Lenora Robson, Benoit Robert, Louella Sloboda, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin

SSPS/Communication June 19, 2016

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